A Tribute to Kermit Harold Yoho

Specialist Four
C CO, 1ST BN, 27TH INF RGT, 25 INF DIV
Army Of The United States
17 February 1945 - 10 February 1966
Moundsville, WV
Panel 05E Line 024

 

Wheeling Intelligencer

Kermit Yoho died on the Cu-Chi battlefield in South Viet Nam on Feb 10 1966. Kermit was a combat photographer and only one of two to die in the Viet Nam War. He was a member of DASPO or Department of the Army Photographic Office.

One DASPO member stated: " Seven civilian correspondents and photographers have been killed in South Vietnam since the French debacle there in the early 1950's". "Had Specialists Yoho been a civilian photographer working for a US wire service agency, his death would have been recorded on the front pages of most major American dailies". Kermit's name appears on the Viet Nam Memorial Panel 05E Line 024.

The above left image was obtained from the Virtual Wall Website and includes the USARPAC and DASPO Patches, The Purple Heart, National Defense Medal, The Vietnam Service Medal, and The Vietnam Campaign Medal. The above image was obtained from the Virtual Wall Website. The picture of Kermit was taken in Vietnam by an unknown photographer.

Kermit was one of three sons and one daughter of my fathers brother, Gerald Yoho. Gerald and Kermit's older brother Jim are deceased. Another older brother, Wayne lives in New Matamoris Ohio. Kermit's sister Mary Lou Yoho Kruger lives in Moundsville WV. Jim Yoho was a "mustang" serving first as an enlisted man in the Army National Guard and retiring from the regular Army as a Major.. He died suddenly at age 64 shortly after he retired as commandant or principal of a Military School for boys.

Kermit lived a few blocks from me while we were boys in Moundsville. Since I was so much older than him (4 years), we did not often play together. I do remember his fastination with cameras at a very early age. While he was in high school, he worked as a photographer for the Moundsville Daily Echo newspaper. Perhaps some of Kermit's classmates can share some of their experiences. If so, I will incorporate those experiences in this tribute.

I was an undergraduate at West Liberty State College in 1966 when I learned of Kermit's death. The family was told that Kermit was caught in a Vietcong ambush and died of multiple fragmentation wounds from a mortar round. I remember that his casket was only partially open for viewing his remains. .I was struck by the comments of an Army sergeant who accompanied the body. He said that our family was lucky since many of the remains he had previously accompanied were not viewable. We were lucky but Kermit was dead.............................

I thought about the sergeant's remarks years later and realized that I was the lucky one. I was in that awful place before all Hell Broke Loose. I spent about a month in Vietnam as an advisor in an Army Psychological Warfare Unit in 1963. My unit the 16th Psy War Company of the 14th Broadcasting and Visual Activity Batallion was stationed on Okinawa. We traveled to most countries in Asia advising foreign military unitis how to use propaganda against an "enemy". In 1963 the situation in Vietnam was not yet combative but for all intensive observations, ready to "pop". I remember some career soldiers saying that the stuff would soon hit the fan there. It did about a year later and I was lucky and out of the Army.

When reflecting on a persons death, some people rationalize that the deceased died while doing what they liked best. I find it difficult to think this way with regard to Kermit's death as well as others who lost their lives in Vietnam. . I consider it a waste of a young mans life especially since the true circumstances of his death are in question. While the official cause of death was reported as resulting from enemy fire,the possibility is now being considered that Kermit died from "friendly fire". This possiblity was raised in one communication from a DASPO member:

"I am aware that there are at least two stories on what actually caused Kermit's death. The mortar story, and the friendly fire story. Which is true will be hard to say. Personally, I think both stories have equal weight. I suppose, only an eye witness would know. Rupy (Kermit's friend) and Kermit had split up just before the incident. I have never seen an official report on this so I don't know how it reads. Initially, I can imagine it being attributed to an incoming mortar round. Upon investigation, if there was one, the short round theory could have come about."

If Kermit was killed by friendly fire, that makes his death even more of a waste in my mind.

In 2002, I was contacted by Stewart Barbee who is the President of the DASPO Reunion Group. This group consists of former Army photographers some of whom were in Vietnam and few who knew Kermit. Stewart and his group have started a Scholarship Fund at Texas Tech University in memory of Kermit and Charles "Rick" Rein who was the second DASPO photographer killed in Vietnam. More information about this scholarship appears below. Stewart contacted me by e-mail on numerous ocassions and recently provided me with DASPO Newsletters containing information about Kermit. That information also appears below.

Missing Man (Yoho/Rein) Table at DASPO Reunion

 

Last Known Picture of Kermit Shortly Before His death

Vietnam Virtual Wall

DASPO Website A Very Nice Tribute To Kermit at This Site

E-mail from President of DASPO and a DASPO Friend of Kermit

A Letter From "Rupy" Who Served with Kermit

GI Writers and Cameramen by Michael Krawetz, a DASPO Member

Yoho/Rein, A closer Look, DASPO Newsletter

Yoho/Rein Scholarship At Texas Tech Univ. (You can Contribute)

Return Yoho Family Page

Return 14th PsyWar Page